Daniel Bachman

There’s something new on the latest from Daniel Bachman LP. After years of diving deep into the cultural crumble of America and Americana, there’s a thread of hope in Bachman’s music. When The Roses Come Again embraces the cyclical nature of death and rebirth, the wheel of life, particularly inspired by Bachman’s gardening. Though, the themes on the album dive much deeper into the Virginian dirt than just seeds and soil. Bachman reaches back into his own songwriting and his family’s past to wrestle with the sounds of Appalachian folk. Pulling sounds from instruments by getting your hands into them as much as you would any patch of earth, the record dismantles folk’s forms and reassembles them into rotoscope swirls of strings and processed sonics.

Sitting at the cross-section of Laraaji, Eno, The Carter Family, and Hobart Smith, the album borrows systems of repetition and resolve from the ambient contingent and applies the mindset to folk. The songs on Roses become clockwork curios of traditional music, running like film loops of family gatherings around and around the lens until the gears begin to add their own cadence and clatter to the memories. Bachman spent hours accumulating improvisations, reconstructing banjos and hand hammering mouth harps, then running them through software with the addition of oscillators and processed drums via cheap apps.

The electronics are subsumed into the album’s core, growing if not in symbiosis, then in acceptance of the intrusion. Like a tree that’s grown around the decomposing chassis of a discarded truck, the natural impulses adapt to the trespass of technology. The album’s hypnotism rides the wheels of its circular motion, pulling the listener into a vortex of rust and rhythm, history and horticulture that chases the sun with a perpetual pulse. Bachman’s last two albums began a more pessimistic slide, and that hasn’t wholly abated on When The Roses Come Again, but there is a sense that as the darkness comes, it will be followed by an equal interval of light. The hope of renewal lights a spark within the albums and slowly fans it to life.

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